SA a step closer to faster internet

Cabinet on Thursday approved the government's long-awaited National Broadband Policy.

Communications minister Yunis Carrim. Picture:GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Faster internet and cheaper cellphone costs are a step closer to becoming a reality after Cabinet on Thursday approved the government's long-awaited National Broadband Policy.

The policy will be called South Africa Connect.

Cabinet has also taken a decision on the set-top boxes for when the country finally migrates from analogue to digital television.

Broadcasters have been at loggerheads over whether or not decoders should have control systems or not.

This resulted in migration delays.

Communications Minister Yunus Carrim says people will have a choice.

"We've finally decided as Cabinet, unanimously, that we should give people a choice about whether they want to use the control mechanism in the set-top boxes or not."

Carrim says all set-top boxes will come fitted with control mechanisms, but using them will not be mandatory.

"However, the set-top boxes themselves will have a control mechanism to protect government's investment in the decoders that we pay for, for the poor."

Carrim says the internationally deadline for migration is June 2015.

He appealed to broadcasters to work together with government to ensure migration proceeds smoothly.